New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:3 abide still at Ephesus. There is no record of this assignment in the book of Acts, and the same is true of other personal references in this epistle. This is one of the reasons most New Testament scholars believe that Paul was released after his first incarceration at Rome, although the book of Acts closes with his imprisonment. He then, presumably, continued to travel and preach at many places throughout the Roman empire. Eventually, he was again arrested, this time under the severe waves of persecution by the emperor Nero, and was finally executed. I Timothy, it is believed, was written between the two imprisonments; II Timothy was written from prison, shortly before he was put to death by Nero’s order.
1:3 doctrine. Doctrine (i.e., teaching) is often downgraded today in the church in favor of an emphasis on love. Nevertheless, sound doctrine must come first; true Christian love is the natural product of sound doctrine (I Timothy 1:5).
1:4 fables and endless genealogies. These “fables and endless genealogies” are generally thought to be rabbinical traditions, since the Ephesian church where Timothy was pastoring (I Timothy 1:3) had been plagued from the start by Jewish opponents of Paul (Acts 19:8-9). However, Gentile converts were also numerous (Acts 19:10), and these had come from a background of pagan evolutionary philosophy, featuring the worship of the nature goddess Diana (Acts 19:35). Like other forms of evolutionism, Greek paganism was a nest of fables and a great chain of genealogical relationships extending back into eternity. All such compromises with either legalism or evolutionism, ancient or modern, are utterly bereft of spiritual edification.